Sunday, January 18, 2015

Downton for a Day

Something short and sweet and extra posh for you all today.  This last week, I was lucky enough to be a part of a Downton Abbey themed shoot.  When asked, I jumped at the opportunity.  Just google "Downton Abbey costumes" and you'll understand why.  #vintageglamourmuch.  And, ya know, that whole lover-of-all-things-British thing may have come into play here as well.  The way I saw it, it was a pretty legitimate excuse to speak with an accent for hours on end.  Not that I need one.

As if being all fancy for a day wasn't fabulous enough, I was able to collaborate with some really amazing people.  April Benincosa started us off with some killer hair and makeup.  Watching her create those Old Hollywood style waves in my hair was really something special.  Thank you, April.  

The Grand America served as a truly gracious host, giving us a set that really drove home that elaborate English country estate feel to the shoot. Thanks to the hotel and its friendly staff!

La FĂȘte Floral and Events was kind enough to provide us with some unique bouquets fit for a queen.  And Gossamer Vintage sent some unbelievably breathtaking vintage gowns that I was thrilled to wear and play around in for a few hours. Thanks to both of them!

Most of all, I'd like to thank D'Arcy Benincosa, who is such a vibrant soul and a deeply gifted photographer and artist.  Thank you for making it all happen and for asking me to be a part of it.  

Days like these remind me of how fortunate I am to be able to work with such talented and creative individuals.  It's inspiring.  And to top it all off, I get to take home these stunning photographs that will last a lifetime.  I'm a lucky girl.

Note: Because D'Arcy is super cool and awesome, she shoots film.  The photos included above were taken on our iPhones so we could share some shots with you all right away.  So stay tuned for more images once that film gets developed!

Much love, thanks for reading, and as always...

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Haters Gonna Hate, I'm Just Gonna Shake

I'm going to admit something that I'm not particularly proud of - I used to be one of those people that really intensely disliked Taylor Swift.  She always seemed a tad self-involved and vengeful and just kind of annoying.  The cherry on top of this ice-cold hater sundae: she allegedly dated A LOT of really attractive, super talented, and undeniably desirable men.  One of whom I have been in a very serious imaginary relationship with for quite some time now (Those of you who know me won't have any trouble determining who that is).  All in all, it was just irritating and yes, I felt a little jealous.  Which is really incredibly hard to admit.

But recently, I've had a bit of a change of heart.  October 2014 marked the release of Taylor's newest album, 1989.  And I found myself singing along to her latest hits despite my greatest efforts not to.  Swiftie or not, she's one talented chick, and her new pop style album is absolutely wicked.  So, I did a little research.  Watched interviews, read stories, etc.   

What I discovered was this - I deeply relate to Taylor Swift in many ways.  She's just turned 25.  I've just turned 24.  We're both in a place where we value our independence. It seems that each of us feels deeply committed to ourselves and to our own well-being and personal growth.  Dating is not a number one priority.  Instead, we’re enjoying new friends and old.  We're also ready and willing to go to bat for things that are important to us.  Taylor boldly defends her work and eloquently dismisses accusations that her music is whiny or overdramatic as sexist and untrue.  “No one says that about Ed Sheeran.  No one says that about Bruno Mars.  They are all writing songs about their exes and their current girlfriends, their love life, and no one raises a red flag there.” Well said, girlfriend.  And on a smaller note, we both enjoy a warm and gooey batch of cookies and a good red lipstick.  I could get down with that.

An Instagram of mine from approximately 31 weeks ago.  My love of cookies is not a new thing.  Good ole' chocolate chip.

An Instagram of Taylor's from approximately 14 weeks ago.  Her love of cookies, also not new.
Chai sugar cookies with eggnog icing.  Ummm...yum. Major points for creativity here.

Me rocking that "red lip, classic" thing that she likes...

Taylor Swift is not perfect.  I am not perfect.  No one is perfect.  Taylor Swift has certainly made mistakes.  She’s said some things and done some things that perhaps weren't really all that smart.  But for goodness sakes, who hasn't in their younger years?  The difference between her and the rest of us is that Taylor had to make those mistakes with the whole world watching.  And oftentimes, she isn't given the luxury of moving forward from them as those of us not living in the public eye can.  That stupid thing you said to your ex?  Well it just withers away with the passing time.  For Taylor?  It’s forever recorded in the annals of YouTube history.  That time you tripped and fell and it was like, super embarrassing?  Try doing it on stage in front of thousands of people.  That guy you broke up with years ago?  He’s just a part of the past.  For Taylor?  There’s a new gossipy headline to read every morning.  I know if I were under that amount of scrutiny, I’d lose my sanity and promptly crawl into a hole somewhere. 

But here’s what really changed my perspective.  In a recent interview she did with Rolling Stone (you can find it here), T-Swift said this about her band of outrageously beautiful, successful, driven and talented female bffs.  "It's like this blazing bonfire.  You can either be afraid of it because it's so powerful and strong, or you can go stand near it, because it's fun and it makes you brighter."  That triple scoop hater sundae I mentioned earlier?  Reading this made it melt away in seconds.  What a show of strength, I thought.  Instead of feeling intimidated or threatened by these equally beautiful and gifted women, she gravitates toward them, in search of only friendship.  She does not feel that their achievements or talents belittle her own.  Instead, they lift her up and inspire her.  I really appreciated this side of her that I’d never seen.  Perhaps it wasn’t there before.  Or maybe I just wasn’t looking for it.  I can’t really give you an answer on that one, but I do know that I’m glad I found it.

I don't know Taylor and I most likely will never know her.  I do not dislike her.  I also do not idolize her.  But I do respect her a great deal.  I admire her bravery and her confidence.  I admire her for the way she handles her uber celebrity status and her overwhelmingly unprivate lifestyle.  It can't be easy.  But her fire, it just keeps on blazing.  So instead of shying away from it, I'm gonna walk my ass over to it and sit the fuck down for a little while.  And while I'm there, I'll enjoy the warmth, soak in all the light, and let those raging flames make my own fire burn that much brighter.

Much love, thanks for reading, and as always… 

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Year In Review

A lot happened this year.

I finished my graduate program and received my Masters Degree.  

Got my first big girl job with a salary and benefits and real responsibilities.  I visited Washington D.C. for the very first time.  Saw the capitol building, met the Senate majority leader, went to brunch with an old friend (Hi Leah!), toured countless museums, and walked till I thought my feet would fall off. 

I saw Wicked for the second time…and it was awesome.  Magical even ;)  I began a really intense fitness regimen with my Daddy.  I worked with some truly gifted photographers, stylists, and hair and makeup artists.  

I walked in my first runway show.  

I spent another year at home with my family.  We’re closer than ever and I feel grateful for the three of them every day of my life. I spent time with old friends...

And new...

I started this blog...

2014, you were really great.  I’ll look back on you fondly. But I can’t help but feel excited by the idea of a brand new year full of possibilities.  I don’t know what’s in store.  And for the first time in my life, that doesn’t scare me. I’m ready for the unknown.  I’m ready for twists and turns and ups and downs.  I am ready to stop just ogling those Audreams.  I’m ready to go live them.  Are you…?

Happy New Year Audreamers!  Here’s to 2015! 

Much love, thanks for reading, and as always…